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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Beijing gets top marks from IOC
Beijing's Olympic Stadium
Beijing's Olympic Stadium should be finished in 2007
Beijing has been given a big thumbs up by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after a three-day inspection.

The IOC called the venues in Beijing, which hosts the 2008 Games, "stunning" and the organisation "high quality".

"We could not think of any other word than stunning when we described the Olympic Stadium and Aquatic Centre," said IOC inspector Hein Verbruggen.

"We are dealing with a high quality organising committee, really excellent people. We are extremely pleased."

Verbruggen also said he was happy with assurances from the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) that media would be able to operate freely.

"We have a guarantee in the host city contract that journalists would be able to operate as they do in other Games in other countries," said Verbruggen.

There has probably never been an organising committee that is so open to advice than this
IOC inspector Hein Verbruggen

"It's a very important part of our discussions, a very important subject because the media is the largest group of people we're going to have here."

More than 20,000 members of the media are expected to descend on Beijing for the Games.

In addition, Verbruggen said the IOC's environmental experts reported that progress was being made on cleaning up Beijing's air pollution.

"There are certainly still challenges ahead of us," he said. "We have confidence they will fulfil the promises they made at the evaluation stage."

BOCOG vice-president Jiang Xiaoyu has outlined a four-point plan for relieving congestion in the Chinese capital and said a vehicle ban had not been ruled out for the duration of the Games.

Verbruggen has also been told that tickets for the Games will be affordable to the local population and that BOCOG is studying ways of making sure they "get them to the right people".

He also commended BOCOG for its educational programme, willingness to listen, work with sponsors and plans for ensuring the Games leave a legacy beyond 2008.

"There has probably never been an organising committee that is so open to advice than this," he said.

"They're willing to learn and they're willing to take advice, whether it's from Chinese or from foreigners."

Beijing plans remain on schedule
28 Mar 06 |  Other Sport...

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